USDA issues horse ‘soring’ rule | TSLN.com
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USDA issues horse ‘soring’ rule

The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Friday issued a rule to end the practice known as horse “soring,” but Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he hopes President-elect Donald Trump’s as-yet-unnamed Agriculture secretary will reverse it.

USDA said the rule under the Horse Protection Act “will help to protect horses from the cruel and inhumane practice known as soring and eliminate the unfair competitive advantage that sore horses have over horses that are not sore.”

“The practice of soring is intended to produce a high-stepping gait through the use of action devices, caustic chemicals, and other practices that cause horses to suffer, or reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking or moving,” APHIS said in a news release.



The rule is scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2018.

“The practice of soring is intended to produce a high-stepping gait through the use of action devices, caustic chemicals, and other practices that cause horses to suffer, or reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking or moving.”Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund credited President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “for taking this important anti-cruelty action.”



In a news release, the Humane Society called horse soring “barbaric and gratuitious” and said, “The rule bans the use of medieval stacks, chains and other cruel devices and eliminates a corrupt inspection program that placed the very people abusing horses in charge of enforcing the law.”

But Alexander said in a news release Saturday that while he opposes soring, the law could damage the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition.

“I am in favor of wiping out the contemptible and illegal practice of horse soring, not wiping out the century-old tradition of showing Tennessee Walking Horses as this rule could do,” Alexander said.

“I and other members of Congress introduced legislation last Congress that would end horse soring. I would hope the new secretary of Agriculture will not concur with this overreaching rule announced during the last few days of the Obama administration and instead will work with Congress to enact legislation that punishes trainers, owners and riders who abuse horses while preserving the opportunity for law-abiding horse enthusiasts to participate in competitions that are the basis of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.”

Alexander said the Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports more than 20,000 jobs nationwide and pumps $3.2 billion into the nation’s economy.

In 2014, there were more than 350 shows contributing millions of dollars to local economies, he added, with 275,000 walking horses registered nationwide, including over 90,000 walking horses in Tennessee, and more than 40,000 in Kentucky.

The final rule could have a significant negative effect on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and the small businesses and communities benefiting from it, Alexander concluded.

–The Hagstrom Report


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